Top Drawer: Joyce Clark Hicks finds the best for your home and garden

Top Drawer

CorrespondentJune 27, 2014 

Kraig Bantle, owner of Raleigh business Garage Brothers, which will be the subject of a new DIY Network show called “Garage Gold.”


Best of the tube

On DIY channel: “Garage Gold” tracks the adventures of Kraig Bantle’s Raleigh-based family business, Garage Brothers. They clear cluttered garages, attics and basements for free – in return for keeping whatever they remove. For years, they have been carving out a living by finding buried treasure in those spaces and selling it for a profit. Check out the next episode at 10 p.m. July 6.

Best uses for Magic Erasers

Into every home, some stains must fall. The folks at Raining Hot Coupons say Magic Erasers do a great job of making stubborn stains disappear. Check out their list of clever uses for these miracle sponges:

1 Clean inside and outside of special small appliances such as your mixer and slow cooker, among others.

2 A Magic Eraser will clean coffee mugs stained with years of coffee and lipstick.

3 Use them to remove rust from virtually any surface.

4 Sticky label on a jar that just won’t give? Soak it in hot water, and then use the Magic Eraser to remove any residue.

5 Cut the sponge in half and leave it in your toilet bowl overnight to remove toilet bowl rings.

6 To clean grout and tile, simply scrub with a wet Magic Eraser sponge.

7 Use it to erase marks on walls and floors left by ink pen, permanent marker and crayon.

8 Magic Erasers can also remove ink stains from blue jeans. Be sure to test a small area first for discoloration.

9 To remove ring-around-the-collar, dampen the sponge and scrub. Again, stick with white shirts only or spot test before doing the whole collar.

Check out the list at If you’ve found other uses for Magic Erasers, we’d love to hear about them. Email to

Best for removing sweat stains

Is summer’s heat leaving unsightly marks on the underarms of your dresses and shirts? Reader’s Digest offers several remedies to remove those marks from your prized garments.

Meat tenderizer: Before you launder that sweat-stained sweatshirt, dampen the stain and sprinkle some meat tenderizer on it. Then wash as usual.

Aspirin: Crush two aspirins and mix the powder in 1/2 cup warm water. Soak stain in the solution for two to three hours.

Dish soap: To whiten a yellowed sweat stain, scrub with a mixture of 1 part dish soap to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. Let sit for an hour, then launder.

Salt: Dissolve 4 tablespoons salt in 1 quart hot water. Sponge garment with the solution until the stain disappears.

Lemon juice: Scrub garment with a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and water.

Vinegar: Just pour a bit of vinegar directly onto the stain, and rub it into the fabric before placing the item in the wash. You can also remove deodorant stains from your washable shirts and blouses by gently rubbing the spot with undiluted vinegar before laundering.

Baking soda: Pretreating clothes with a paste made from 4 tablespoons baking soda and 1/4 cup warm water can help vanquish a variety of stains. For really bad stains, let the paste dry for about two hours before washing.


Best adhesive remover

Natalie Schoeny of Raleigh shared her homemade recipe for removing adhesive from price tags or stickers on hard surfaces such as glass or metal.

“ I use a small dab of butter. Rub it on the spot from the price tag or sticker and the sticky residue dissolves. Then clean off the butter with a regular surface cleaner that cuts grease. I’ve also used butter to get bubble gum out of hair and remove glue from a dog’s paws after he had inadvertently stepped on a glue trap. Works great, costs less and no harmful chemicals! (Tastes great, too, according to the dog.)”

Best dessert for July 4

Dress up your Fourth of July celebrations with a sweet treat from the Skinny Taste blog.

On a skewer, alternate 1-inch squares of angel food cake and strawberries and top each end of the skewer with blueberries for a patriotic dessert. For a yummy dip to accompany the skewers, combine 4 ounces softened reduced-fat cream cheese with 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup raw sugar. Mix until the sugar dissolves and chill or serve immediately with the skewers.

Check it out at

Seeking your best recipes

Summer is finally here, and grills across the Triangle are working overtime with delicious seasonal recipes. If you have a simple, special marinade, grilling recipe or side that’s the envy of friends, we’d love to hear about it. Please send it along with complete, precise directions. Include your address and “best recipe” in the subject line. If we use your recipe, you’ll be entered into a quarterly drawing for a gift card. Email

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